Every writer I know is a bibliophile. Not to be confused with a bibliomania, an indiscriminate book hoarder (I know a few); or a bibliophagic, which is a book-eater (letâ€™s not even go there), a bibliophile is someone with a healthy love of books. And, being bibliophiles, all the writers I know also have â€œKeeper Shelves.â€ These shelves are stocked with books we especially love and that we really donâ€™t (despite what we may say) want to lend out.
But we do like to talk about favorite books and recommend them to our friends. To this end, our fabulous blog editor Jennifer Apodaca (riding high on the success of our recent blog contest, Going to the Chapelâ€¦ Thank you, New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber for judging for us!) has created a new blog category, called â€œThe Keeper Shelf.â€
No, this one isnâ€™t a contest. Jen is simply inviting our members to blog on an ongoing basis about books that they love, and think other OCC members shouldnâ€™t miss.
Now my Keeper Shelf is chock full of books, some old and out-of-print, and others brand-spanking new. The amazing thing to me about all these books is that since joining OCC over 15 years ago, Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to actually meet the authors of many of the books I read and reread. While meeting my favorite fiction writers is a personal thrill, meeting the nonfiction writers is always a professional boon for increasing my understanding of craft. Hearing the author discuss his work in person (agent Donald Maass, executive editor Leslie Wainger), never fails to provide insights Iâ€™d missed on the printed page.
With this in mind, here are a few books from my nonfiction collection pertinent to upcoming events I donâ€™t want you to miss:
Lessons from A Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell.
Long before our renowned Programs Director Bobbie Cimo snagged Morrell for our August meeting, this book has been on the shelf of many of my friends. Learning that Morrell would be speaking at OCC â€“ and knowing his background not only as the creator of Rambo but also as a writing teacher â€“ and I rushed to get it, too. I was not disappointed. Not only are Morrellâ€™s lessons on craft great, in my opinion his opening discussion of â€œwhy do you want to write?â€ is worth the price of the book alone. Read it before Morrell speaks, and if you are an OCC volunteer, make sure you donâ€™t miss the reception afterward (invites are a volunteer perk) so you can discuss it with Morrell in person.
To the Point–Samples of Successful Synopses by OCC/RWA
More than 25 authors donated the synopses they wrote â€“ synopses that sold â€“ so other writers can learn from them. This collection (originally published by OCC more than 10 years ago), has been newly revised and updated by Ways and Means Director Sandy Brown. Order it in book or CD form on our website, and after you read these synopses, donâ€™t miss the opportunity to talk to the authors about them.
The Heroâ€™s Journey by Chris Vogler.
Before I was published, I studied Voglerâ€™s application of Joseph Campbell’s work to plotting simply because all the published writers I knew had studied it, and because George Lucas had used it to create â€œStar Wars.â€ Well, everyone still knows about Voglerâ€™s work, especially Hollywood writers who now pay Vogler big bucks to evaluate their screenplays.
Am I looking forward to hearing Vogler (when he returns from presenting his workshop in Italy) lecture in person at our Autumn Affaire in September? You betcha.
And Iâ€™m hoping youâ€™ll be there, too.
Sandra Paul aka Sandra Novy-Chvostal has written ten books for Silhouette and also serves as OCC Co-President with Mindy Neff.